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On Christmas day, 1376, King Edward holds a great and solemn feast, to which all the prelates, earls, barons, and knights are invited to attend.  In theory every person who represents the king in the realm is expected, as a show of loyalty.  But as there are so many minor knights this is not practical, and for lesser provincials one attendance during a lifetime is considered sufficient, but anyone of distinction or within a day's journey of Westminster is expected to attend this annual event, and absence would be noted and studied, probably with disfavor.

 

Great Hall at Westminster Palace

After a religious service in the abbey, the king leads his guests in a procession to the great hall of Westminster (left).  There he sits on a throne at the high table, raised so that he can see all his guests. Richard, his grandson by Prince Edward, is raised up and carried before the king, who invests him, in the presence of the lords just mentioned, with the succession to the throne, to hold it after his death, and the king seats Richard beside him.  The amount of food is lavish and the feasting goes on for hours.  King Edward requires an oath from all prelates, barons, knights, officers of the cities, towns, ports, and frontier posts of England that they will recognize Richard as their king. [Froissart's Chronicles and Lady of the Sun, F. George Kay].

 

Yule was sometimes a fifteen day vacation for peasants, and on various Glastonbury manors this included a special feast at the manor house.  Tenants cut and carried logs for the Yule fire, and each brought a faggot of brushwood as well as his own trencher, a mug, and a napkin of some kind if he would eat off a cloth.  The feast included plenty of bread and broth and ale, with two kinds of meat.  Games were played and carols sung.  [Life on the English Manor, H. S. Bennett].

 

   At Glastonbury Abbey itself is the 14th century Abbot's kitchen (pictured below) furnished with four great fireplaces, each large enough to roast an oxen. In this building lavish feasts were prepared for the visitors who were dining in the abbot's adjoining private hall.

14th century Abbott's kitchen at Glastonbury

 

 

 

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